SPRINGFIELD — Illinois shoppers could find themselves paying extra for soft drinks under a proposed statewide soda tax.

The new plan would add an extra penny on every ounce of sugary drinks sold in sealed containers, along with the syrups and powders used to flavor them.

The tax is part of a broader plan to promote healthy living in Illinois, according to state Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, who sponsored the legislation. Revenue from the tax would go toward a range of health services and education initiatives.

"Numerous studies have linked excessive consumption of sugary soft drinks to obesity," Hunter said in an email. "We as a state need to do a better job of educating the public and children in particular about this issue and the health risks."

The proposal has drawn criticism from the Illinois Coalition Against Beverage Taxes — an alliance of manufacturers, retailers and union workers who say the tax would harm the economy and kill jobs in Illinois.

"You reduce consumption, and you reduce employment," said Brian Rainville, a spokesman for Teamsters Joint Council 25 in Chicago and northwest Indiana. "If there's less being made and distributed, there's fewer people doing those jobs.

"Politicians are always talking about creating middle-class jobs, and these are those jobs. These are the good, middle-class jobs that people want to create."

This isn't the first time that legislators and business leaders have fought over a tax on soft drinks.

In 2011, a report by the Cook County Department of Public Health recommended that legislators impose a tax of 2 cents per ounce on all sugar-sweetened beverages.

Though similar measures have won approval in other states, Illinois lawmakers have been unable to get the tax off the ground.

Others say the tax would impose a burden on families trying to purchase groceries.

"This tax adds $2.88 to a (24-pack) case of soda," said Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association. "It's nearly a 50 percent increase in the cost of it. So folks that are scrambling to buy groceries are going to have it even harder."

But Hunter said the plan would save the state money by reducing health care costs.

"Medical expenses associated with obesity cost taxpayers more than $100 million annually," she said. "My goal with this legislation is to increase awareness, improve public health and promote healthy living alternatives in an effort to save lives and money."

The legislation is Senate Bill 3524.

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(56) comments


If it imposes a burden on people purchasing groceries, then they can give up their pop. Isnt that one of the laws of being poor. If you can't afford it you don't get it. When I was small and my family had no money pop was not even a consideration to begin with. And I love how people love to bring up that job thingee. Except of course when they want to get rid of something. Jobs come and go and they always will. These days you have to move right along with them.


exrepub....I'm not poor & I work 50+ hours a week! So I don't want to pay another $2.88 for my case of pepsi! I'm sick & tired of the government trying to run my life! I am 60 yrs. old & can make my own choices. I do agree on those that get food stamps shouldn't be allowed to get soft drinks or alot of other things they are able to get. Also, I pay my own Dr. bills & insurance....so that means the state DOES NOT for any of my medical issues!


In 5 years the state will be paying your medical bills through Medicare. You are currently paying the Medicare bills for those over 65, and do keep in mind, those bills are higher because of obesity. While healthcare cost increases have slowed in recent years, we as a society do need to look into ways to help control healthcare costs and keep Medicare as a viable part of our social safety net. I remember people being upset about seat belts and air bags, and boy were they wrong about those government mandates.

Euler 314

So, YOU get a choice, but others DON'T?? Why shouldn't others choose what they want to put into their bodies? What makes YOU so special?


Again, someone wants to take our money away to fund their pet project and to influence our behavior in a way "they" think is correct.

Leave us alone. Leave our money alone.

Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor
Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor

One name says it all

IF 6 WAS 9

My parents bought one of those last year and I was both suprised and happy when they give it to me. Until I found out why, it is terrible and the carbination lasts about 30 seconds then its gone.

Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor
Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor

True not everybody likes it. Guess you'll have enjoy Dr Pepper at 2 10 & 4.


We have one and its great....Something must be wrong with your carbonation or your not doing it properly...Carbonation in our bottles will last for days.

Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor
Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor

I love my soda stream knowing that it screws a liberal Democrat out of a few pennies makes it taste even better. In addition to that I don't have to carry tons of bottles into the house and then worry about recycling them.

Randall Flagg

When they started putting additional, unfair taxes on cigarettes at nearly an annual basis, there were plenty of holier than thou people who were so happy because it was only on those doing something they shouldn't. We said then to just wait and it will quickly move to something that you also do that you shouldn't. Whenever people judge what other should and shouldn't do it ends up biting them in the end. I hope it's fast food next. Either everyone gets an unfair tax on behavior or no one should!


i have said this myself. I do think they already have a higher tax on fast food. Anyway, I can't eat mcdonalds food anymore. Makes me sick, literally! but heck, they get their meat from china now. and if you don't believe me, look it up online. Along with taco bell and a few other places. I rarely ever eat fast food.


Why is it the lawmakers lays know what is better for us than we do. We should put taxes on a lot of their stuff and see how they like it...they don't live in the real world once the get a state/government job!


Oh come on! If they raise taxes on their favorite consumption, mainly alcohol of any kind, they will just give themselves another pay increase that they didn't earn.

Maureen ABA
Maureen ABA

It’s true that people are perfectly capable of making these individual choices without government oversight or interference. Not to mention the fact that such taxes won’t change behaviors or reduce obesity by any measurable amount; only education can do that. - Maureen Beach, American Beverage Association


If there ever is a "Job Killer" proposed legislation, this be one. When you curtail soda sales, employees at the bottler are laid off (Job Killer). When bottler container manufacturers (Plastic or Aluminum) receive less orders, employees are laid off (Job Killer). When there is less demand for bottler container products, Truck Drivers are laid off (Job Killer). When there is less Transportation Vehicles on the road, less fuel is required. Less fuel requirements means less fuel deliveries, meaning fuel distributors make less deliveries (Job Killer). Less fuel sales means less Road Fuel Tax. Less Road Fuel Tax means less Road Construction, which leads to less Construction Employment (Job Killer). Chsitcago Politicians at their best (Mouth engaged before Brain).


Ah, yes...an idea plagiarized from Bloomberg and New York City. But, the real issue is the State of Illinois wants more tax money to waste/spend....as no one wants to balance the State Checkbook.


Bingo! We have a winner here.


Dear Pantagraph: Please print the TRUTH! The headline should read "DEMOCRATS PROPOSE SODA TAX".


Amen brother AMEN! lmao


Like smoking, obesity costs us all. Who do you think is paying for that diabetic having a foot removed while on Medicare or Medicaid? Keep the big picture in mind.


So you assume all soda drinkers are fat? The big picture is the Democrats tax, tax, tax and then tax more!


Quick, what President raised taxes 11 times? Like I've said over and over, it is not simple black and white blame the other party. BTW, not all smokers get lung cancer or heart disease, but the percentages sure are higher, and you pay for it.

Question Everything

Do you eat red meat? That can be considered bad for you. Do you exercise every day? That can be considered a responsibility for maintaining good health. Unless you are living a 'perfect life', then your view is that of a hypocrit. That is also one of the reasons why Obamacare will fail. It reduces personal accountability and incentive to be healthy, and forces the government to try to control our behavior (and our lives). No thanks!

Euler 314

Your "personal accountability and incentive to be healthy" shows in the percentage of fat, unhealthy Americans.


Nobody lives a perfect life, if fact what exactly is a perfect life?The word is "mitigate" as in reduce the amount of obesity and healthcare expenses that come from obesity, healthcare expenses that you are paying. Surely I don't have to explain that to you.
And since "I hate Obama" has to enter every conversion, since when did The Heritage Foundation" idea of a personal mandate reduce personal accountabiltiy. On a personal note, the dramatic increase in taxes on cigarettes that came about 5 years ago was the driving force for this smoker of 40 years to quit hopefully reducing the Medicare expenses YOU will be paying for this old bird when he hits 65.


miniman, I am in the big picture also, & I am NOT on medicare or medicaid! I support myself & I don't want to give up my pepsi!


And I thought the ACA solved all our health ills.... Another mini arrogant position..,. And, personal responsibility and freedom be d---ed.


It totally ticks me off when they propose to tax diet drinks with the sugary sodas as well. Diet pop though not as good for me as water, never caused me to gain weight and doesnt have anything to do with the obesity epidemic. Yet they will tax it the same as something that does. And if they are going to tax pop, they should tax chips and cookies as well - otherwise what's the point? But the bottom line is you cant legislate people to eat better by taxing them. Why dont we look into having people who are obese pay more for their health insurance instead. The people who make bad choices in all areas of their health are the ones who pay not the people who dont.


Let's see, i think they should also tax white flour! White bread is the worst for anyone and everyone. If you purchase white flour you should pay a tax because that is worse for you than soda pop.


I agreed with your post until you said to raise their health insurance because it is ridiculous, a lot of people are obese NOT due to consumption of foods and lack of exercise. A lot are obese due to medications, NOT being able to exercise and not being able to afford the healthier foods.

Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor
Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor

I already pay a 9.5 percent excise tax on my healthcare premiums. So just let the Democrats keep sticking knives into our backs.ET TU Obama.

IF 6 WAS 9

I wouldn’t mind the taxes if I had any confidence in that the money was going to go where they say it will. However, in Illinois it just less money in my pocket and more in a politician’s.


Oh yeah, Tax the pop then educate the masses that pop is one of the keys to obesity, worked with cigarettes didn't it?, almost every kid walking down the street are smoking regardless of all the health warnings. Big government stay out of our lives!!!!!!!


In 1957 45% of the population smoked, today it is 18%. Good or bad?

Lexington Dude

Torn on this. While it's not the government's job to police our lives, the government does eventually pay for people's health issues that soda contributes to. Our food system as a whole needs an overhaul. Research what you eat. I bet you'd be surprised at how many "foods" we consume on a daily basis are outlawed in other countries. In regards to taxing soda, I think it's hypocritical. The government allows the food industry (mainly the corn processing businesses) to push their poison on the public, but now they want to tax it more. Want to get back at the government for this? Stop buying the products they want to tax.

Euler 314


Soda is not a need. Raise the tax to a dollar an ounce!

Regardless, if you don't NEED it, don't BUY it.

Question Everything

So that is your position? Raise taxes on anything that is not a necessity? That's ALL this is about is the government finding another way to tax us and control what we do. We are TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY!!


If you have private health insurance the government doesn't put out anything. Yea, high fructose corn syrup. And i don't care what anyone says, it does not even come close to tasting like sugar.

1-3 Alpha

"D-Chicago"… There's your answer.


That pretty much sums up the poor economic condition of Illinois. D -Chicago!


It is interesting that they think more education is going to cure people of their addiction to a cold pop. Do people really not realize it is bad for you? I think most people do and they drink it anyways. I'd like to see the money go towards something more productive (debt) instead of to somebody's pork project.


I would agree with you. Our state debt is priority #1.


Wow! Really? I rarely ever drink soda pop. Ice water plain or with lemon is my fave. Now, what a scam. Another way to tax the people further.


Why not put a special tax on BUTTER? That causes not only obesity but heart disease!

EVERYTHING we consume can cause someone to become obese. Anything and everything is fine within MODERATION! When is the government going to go after the pharmaceutical companies for all the medications on the market that cause someone to become obese? And everyone is worried about soda pop?

Mark my words, if this flies next they will be raising taxes all together and everyone will be paying the state more for their pork projects which are TOO MANY TO COUNT!

Euler 314

Peter Klausler's short manifesto, "The Principles of the American Cargo Cult", points out the orthogonality of the American right, in glaringly obvious counterpoint to reality.

I. Ignorance is innocence

Complicated explanations are suspect.
The world is simple, and there must be a simple explanation for everything.
Certainty is strength, doubt is weakness.
Changing one's mind means one has wasted the time spent holding the prior opinion.
Your opinion matters as much as anyone else's.
When a person has studied a topic, he has no more real knowledge than you do, just a hidden agenda.
The herd should be followed
The contemplative lemming gets trampled
Popular beliefs must be true.
No bad idea can survive.
People are generally smart.
Even if a popular belief doesn't pan out, at least you'll be in the same boat as everyone else.

II. Causality is selectable

All interconnection is apparent.
Otherwise, complicated explanations would be necessary.
The end supports the explanation of the means.
A successful person's explanation of the means of his success is highly credible by the very fact of his success.
You can succeed by emulating the purported behavior of successful people.

This is the key to the cargo cult. To enjoy the success of another, just mimic the rituals he claims to follow.

III. It's not your fault

If it's good for you, it's good.
Society is everyone else.
Good intentions suffice.
You can always apologize.
There is no long term.
Don't miss an opportunity.
You are not the problem.
An ugly image means a bad mirror.

IV. Death is unnatural

You're special.
Bad things shouldn't happen to you.
Pain is wrong.
Life should not hurt.
Tragedy is a synonym for calamity.
Bad things are never consequences of one's own action or inaction.
There will be justice.
Bad people get punished.
You, however, will be forgiven.

Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor
Ted Kennedy's Drill Instructor

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

the Advocate

The soda freaks didn't care when the state put a $2.00 tax on every pack of cigarettes. That's on top of the hefty federal tax. Your turn to be the victim! What will be next?

the Advocate

Unfair taxation? How did the American colonists react to unfair taxation on their favorite drink? History's a great teacher.

the Advocate

Dumping all those chemicals and sugar into any body of water would be an environmental disaster! It would take years to get a permit to do it legally. And the shear volume of the nation's soda supply would overwhelm any body of water and cause severe flooding. Better switch to plan"B"!


The government should make everyone have and use a like card for any and all purchases. The state could then authorize payment only on goods that don't hurt you. The way some on this blog are presenting their rebuttals it sounds like living like the peoples of the soviet union is what is wanted here. The state to say and control everything pertaining to you life.

Maureen ABA
Maureen ABA

As this article rightly notes, taxing soft drinks would unleash a number of negative consequences, from increasing consumers’ grocery bills to hurting local businesses and the jobs they provide. What’s more, such a tax won’t help mitigate current health problems. Studies show such a policy shift could actually cause people to consume more calories from other sources: http://bit.ly/mmmpt. In sum, taxing soda is a losing proposition, which is why numerous proposals of this kind have been soundly defeated time and again. - Maureen Beach, American Beverage Association


So, we are against a 1% sales tax increase to benefit our schools, but we are not publicly protesting in outrage to our congressmen for the large 3% increase on our soda? Let's do the math. How many people do you know who drink soda? How many people do you think will quit drinking soda as a result of the tax increase? Hmmmm. No one? So, drinking soda and absorbing the tax increase to our budgets because of our desire to consume is more important than educating our children by providing them with a decent environment to learn. Wow! What a warped society we live in.


This seems like a really good idea. Obesity is costing our state billions each year. Sugary beverages are the #1 source of added calories in the American diet and so reducing consumption is in our best interest.


I drink soda everyday and I am far from being overweight or obese.

Maybe next they should pass legislation to force all citizens to comply to a monthly weigh in and whoever they decide may be obese should be forced to pay a fine or penalty.

They can call it the lard butt tax and then use the revenue it generates to pay themselves to sit around on their soft behinds all day to come up with more ways to steal our hard earned shrinking cash flow.

Its time to throw the bums out, and obamacare with them.


Pathetic Bloomberg wannabes.


So if they are going to tax the sugary drinks...are sugar free sodas off the hook?

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